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Case Study

adidas Runtastic deploys fixes twice as fast with Embrace

With the insights we get from Embrace, we never need to go back and add breadcrumbs just to investigate an issue. Instead, we can immediately access the data and context we need to identify the problem and deploy a fix on the very next release.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic


adidas Runtastic is a mobile health and fitness company founded in Austria in 2009. Acquired by adidas in 2015, adidas Runtastic’s two main offerings are mobile apps: adidas Running and adidas Training. With tens of millions of downloads across Android and iOS, adidas Runtastic’s mission is to help its users live healthier and more active lives, by giving them what they need to track activities, boost performance, and celebrate success in their fitness journey.


Fitness apps are incredibly complex. They have to collect and synchronize data across devices and wearables, accommodate a variety of user inputs, and are often used as much in the background as in the foreground. adidas Runtastic needed a solution that could provide their mobile team with high-fidelity mobile data for faster issue identification and resolution, and to help them maintain speed and quality in their bi-weekly release cycles.


With Embrace, adidas Runtastic never needs to worry about data tied to critical issues getting sampled out of view. The comprehensive, actionable insights they get from Embrace help them proactively address issues, deploy fixes twice as fast, maintain release velocity, and enhance New Relic alerts and reporting.

adidas Runtastic helps you stay active and healthy by letting you track fitness activities, boost performance, and celebrate success

Acquired by adidas in 2015, adidas Runtastic is the magic behind popular health and fitness apps adidas Running and adidas Training, available for Android and iOS. While adidas Running is rather self-explanatory, adidas Training is focused on high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Both apps come packed with modern fitness tracking features, including the ability to pair wearable devices, a variety of ways to review and analyze your workout data, and even social features like live events and a feed for sharing your wins with other users.

adidas Training takes the fitness journey to the next level with a workout creator, training plans, and more than 180 exercises and workouts that range from 7-45 min in length.

Since adidas Runtastic was founded in 2009, more than 60 million users have downloaded their Android app, with millions more flocking to their iOS counterpart.

Previous tools did not give adidas Runtastic the data they needed to be proactive

Prior to Embrace, adidas Runtastic relied on their backend team’s preferred tech — New Relic — for their mobile needs. As an end-to-end observability platform, mobile is just a small piece of what New Relic does and, as a result, fell short of what the adidas Runtastic mobile team needed to maintain and improve their apps’ performance. More specifically, because New Relic relies on logging and sampled mobile data, it forced adidas Runtastic’s mobile team into a reactive state.

I have to admit, one of the reasons we switched from New Relic to Embrace is because Embrace allows us to be proactive. With New Relic we end up waiting for a crash to happen, then set breadcrumbs in the next release to investigate. With Embrace, not only can we see crashes earlier, but the data is straightforward enough where we can see what the user was doing in the lead up to the crash. It’s improved our time to fix issues.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

The adidas Runtastic team faced challenges with issue identification and reproducing the root cause due to the sampled mobile data provided by New Relic. This made the process of identifying and resolving issues difficult and time-consuming, as it was not easy to replicate a user’s experience.

While New Relic is focused on services and the backend, Embrace is really focused on mobile. To give an example of how it’s helped us, Embrace lets us see when an app went into background or into foreground. This is really helpful because Android will kill an app in the background under certain conditions. Embrace’s data has helped us figure out the actual cause of certain crashes and ANRs, a lot quicker.
Patrick Mayr Lead Android Engineer, adidas Runtastic

With Embrace, adidas Runtastic deploys fixes twice as fast

The digital health and fitness space is huge, with some projections putting the industry’s net revenues for 2023 at more than $29B. With no shortage of options on mobile app stores, including from internationally known fitness brands like adidas, expectations for user experience are sky high.

For apps like adidas Runtastic’s, that means the margin for error is exceedingly small and, when things break, users demand immediate fixes.

With Embrace’s high-fidelity user data, adidas Runtastic can now deploy fixes twice as fast as when they relied on New Relic alone.

With the insights we get from Embrace, we never need to go back and add breadcrumbs just to investigate an issue. Instead, we can immediately access the data and context we need to identify the problem and deploy a fix on the very next release.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

One of the most common causes for delay in issue remediation occurs when legacy monitoring solutions require teams to add logs and release a new version of their app, just to gain visibility on the issues at hand. For a team like adidas Runtastic that maintains a bi-weekly release cycle, that means any fix is four weeks away, at minimum.

However, since Embrace provides 90% of insights out of the box, without any additional implementation, adidas Runtastic can immediately identify the root cause and get a fix out in a two-week sprint.

For issues that are hard to debug, and where more context is needed, Embrace really helps a lot for finding and fixing them more quickly.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

Data sync issues are a good example of complex issues that frustrate users and are both difficult and time-consuming to debug. For mobile apps like adidas Runtastic’s, data syncs include collecting GPS and accelerometer data from mobile devices, and even more data from wearables like a Garmin or Apple Watch.

Anyone who’s used a fitness tracker knows how frustrating it can be when you’ve completed a run or workout, only for that data to be unusable due to a data syncing issue. For athletes and power users, it can be reason enough to switch apps.

So when adidas Runtastic heard of some users struggling with data sync issues, they quickly implemented a New Relic log to try and track the issue.

When we heard about the data sync issue because of users contacting support and through reviews, we couldn’t see the problem in New Relic. So, we implemented a log to alert us if data syncs were taking too long to complete, or did not complete at all. We could see the count on such events increasing, but couldn’t further scope the problem or identify the root cause with New Relic alone
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

Once the adidas Runtastic team got access to Embrace data, they went from a bare bones understanding of the issue, to having clear data on scope and the root cause as well.

Through Embrace, we figured out a key trigger that caused the data sync issue to occur was when the app was backgrounded for an extended period of time. We were even able to see that, in some instances, a specific brand’s low-power mode was interfering with the ability for data to sync with the app. Embrace is key to us figuring out when certain features aren’t working and, more importantly, why they aren’t working.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

Embrace makes adidas Runtastic release cycles more reliable and efficient

Unlike mobile monitoring platforms that rely on logging and breadcrumbs, Embrace provides 90% of reporting capabilities out of the box. This is because Embrace collects unsampled mobile telemetry from every user experience (e.g., user flows, ANRs, push, background, webviews, extensions, network, and offline data). Mobile teams automatically get key performance dashboards, and can completely customize their own in as little as a few clicks.

This gives developers an advantage, by providing them with a superior platform for QAing release candidates.

On iOS and Android, our release managers are highly reliant on a number of dashboards we’ve built in Embrace to identify crashes and other critical issues before the final release. Now, when a release manager identifies an issue, they simply copy a link to the issue in Embrace and send the data off to the appropriate manager.
Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

adidas Runtastic organizes their release cycles in two week sprints. It’s a process that predates Embrace and started when the mobile team was still reliant on New Relic’s limited mobile data. While the process hasn’t changed much, the improved efficiency and reliability of the process cannot be denied.

The QA process prior to Embrace was similar, but we weren’t always able to fix the issues we identified. That’s a big reason why we switched to Embrace, because Embrace helps our engineers find the issues way earlier and faster.

In the past, we often had to release bug fixes for our apps, for example where we needed to fix a high crash rate. It has been quite some time since we released a bug fix and that’s directly connected to using Embrace.

Paul Weichhart Lead iOS Engineer, adidas Runtastic

The improved data adidas Runtastic gets from Embrace has been eye-opening for the entire organization, and has been critical to catch bugs that often would go unnoticed until users came across them in the wild.

What I’ve noticed in the last few releases, is that we need fewer release candidates before we’re confident in a version to send to the Play Store. What Embrace lets us do is see more of the bugs that have always existed, but we couldn’t see with previous tech.

Now we find and fix more issues during internal and group testing, which in turn improves important metrics for us like crash and ANR rates, and ultimately improves the quality of each release.

Patrick Mayr Lead Android Engineer, adidas Runtastic

adidas Runtastic leverages Embrace’s superior mobile data to enhance New Relic alerts and reporting

Where New Relic excels is at backend observability, and for that, they are still adidas Runtastic’s go-to platform. And while the mobile team is the primary beneficiary of Embrace’s superior mobile data, it’s not something that they’ve isolated from the rest of the org.

In fact, adidas Runtastic has found a unique way to get the best of both worlds by taking advantage of Embrace’s New Relic integration.

By integrating the two platforms, Embrace automatically sends high-fidelity mobile data directly to the New Relic platform that can be used in dashboards and alerting.

Embrace is now our primary source of mobile data, to the point where we no longer track crashes in New Relic. The integration Embrace provides, lets us send mobile data along to New Relic and leverage it in powerful ways. For example, we can now leverage crash rates and other key metrics from Embrace to power our New Relic alerts.
David Österreicher Developer Advocate, adidas Runtastic

Leveraging Embrace data to improve alerting is another way adidas Runtastic is getting more proactive with Embrace. But it’s not the only way they’re leveraging high-fidelity mobile data to improve and augment the insights they get out of New Relic.

With Embrace, we saw there’s more to be had in the mobile space of observability, and it quickly became clear Embrace has a couple of things solved quite a bit better in mobile, than New Relic. For example, we get more detailed crash reporting and the network tracing is much more helpful for our engineers. The ability to look up any user session has also saved us a tremendous amount of pain and time in resolving issues.

So we’re using this data side by side and that allows us to correlate crash data from Embrace, for example, with services data we get out of New Relic.

David Österreicher Developer Advocate, adidas Runtastic

Leveraging Embrace data to improve alerting is another way adidas Runtastic is getting more proactive with Embrace. But it’s not the only way they’re leveraging high-fidelity mobile data to improve and augment the insights they get out of New Relic.

adidas Runtastic stays ahead of the pack with Embrace

With stiff competition from international brands, at-home fitness disruptors, and even tech giants like Apple and Google, adidas Runtastic can’t afford to provide a good-enough experience. In their eyes, turning to Embrace has provided them with a competitive advantage.

Without Embrace and without the ability to capture every user session, trying to identify and solve issues — or to get an understanding of why a certain metric is suffering, for example — is like adding up log statements and expecting to come up with a clear root cause. It’s quite time-consuming and, in the end, it means we don’t investigate some issues we probably should.

We no longer need to make the choice to not investigate an issue and live with unknown consequences.

David Österreicher Developer Advocate, adidas Runtastic

The struggle of resource constraints isn’t new or unique to adidas Runtastic. Many mobile teams simply can’t afford to divert development hours away from innovation toward the manual, time-consuming process of issue reproduction. Especially when the scope of that issue is hard to determine due to a lack of data.

But with Embrace, that’s become a false choice. With the ability to instantly look up any user session, reproducing an issue is as fast as you can navigate the platform.

It’s led to a shift in the way adidas Runtastic thinks about app health and stability. And, it’s a key reason why both engineering leaders at adidas Runtastic start every day with their app health digest from Embrace.

Having the daily digest is like having a traffic light; in a single glance I can tell if everything is fine or if there’s a red light that needs my attention. It’s not only helped me organize my day and be more impactful with where I spend my time, but it’s a good way for us to have our team continuously look at the data and keep it top of mind.
Patrick Mayr Lead Android Engineer, adidas Runtastic

With Embrace, adidas Runtastic has a better understanding of their app’s health and stability, can more quickly identify and resolve issues before they hit production, and can be more efficient in how they spend their mobile team’s limited resources. The unprecedented level of detail they get out of Embrace’s mobile data has further improved existing systems, increased their release velocity, and improved app performance, putting adidas Runtastic in a better position to attract and retain new users.

To learn how Embrace can help you improve app performance, identify and resolve critical issues, and improve your mobile team’s efficiency, sign up for free today.

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